Debt Collection Litigation & CFPB Complaint Statistics, July 2014

Quick analysis: July is a milestone month for CFPB complaints against debt collectors, if only because we have reached the one-year mark for complaint reporting and can begin benchmarking year-over-year comparisons.

Having said that, month #1 for CFPB complaints against debt collectors (July 2013) was pretty tame with only 901 complaints filed – a number that we all know dramatically rises in the months to follow it.

July 2014 saw a strong 3269 complaints filed, though that was down a bit from the previous month with 3390 complaints filed in June (up from the reported 3336 a month ago)

On to the statutory horse race, We saw a second straight month of FDCPA gains, but the overall rate is still down double-digits YTD, at 12.4% below 2013.

FCRA and TCPA both showed a bit of volatility last month, with FCRA up over 15% and TCPA down almost 8% from July. Both are still significantly up YTD though, FCRA at 11.6% and TCPA up 33.6% over 2013.

Of the 828 FDCPA cases filed, 82 (9.9%) of them are class actions. Of the 202 FCRA lawsuits filed, 21 (10.4%) are class actions. And of the 196 TCPA lawsuits filed, 19 (9.7%) are class actions.

Finally, 32% of the consumers who filed litigation in July are considered repeat filers, having filed similar litigation in the past.

Comparisons: Current Period: Previous Period: Previous Year Comp:
Jul 01 – 31, 2014 Jun 01 – 30, 2014 Jul 01 – 31, 2013
CFPB Complaints  3269 3390 -3.7% 901 -262.8%
FDCPA lawsuits  828 815 1.6% 886 -7.0%
FCRA lawsuits  202 171 15.3% 176 12.9%
TCPA lawsuits  196 211 -7.7% 143 27.0%
YTD CFPB Complaints  23794 901 96.2%
YTD FDCPA lawsuits  5701 6406 -12.4%
YTD FCRA lawsuits  1376 1217 11.6%
YTD TCPA lawsuits  1525 1012 33.6%

Complaint Statistics:

3269 consumers filed CFPB complaints against debt collectors and about 1146 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes in Jul 2014. Here is an approximate breakdown:

  • 3269 CFPB Complaints
  • 828 FDCPA
  • 196 TCPA
  • 202 FCRA

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1146 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 365, or (32%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 1564 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 160 different US District Court branches.
  • About 855 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 74 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 56 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 46 Lawsuits: Colorado District Court – Denver
  • 44 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Los Angeles
  • 33 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 33 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 31 Lawsuits: Michigan Eastern District Court – Detroit
  • 26 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 25 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 22 Lawsuits: Florida Southern District Court – Fort Lauderdale

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 30 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 25 Consumers: DAVID MICHAEL LARSON
  • Representing 23 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 20 Consumers: KRISTINA N KASTL
  • Representing 20 Consumers: VICKI PIONTEK
  • Representing 20 Consumers: MICHAEL P DOYLE
  • Representing 20 Consumers: PATRICK M DENNIS
  • Representing 19 Consumers: CRAIG THOR KIMMEL
  • Representing 17 Consumers: ANGIE K ROBERTSON
  • Representing 17 Consumers: DAVID J PHILIPPS

Statistics Year to Date:

7401 total lawsuits for 2014, including:

  • 5701 FDCPA
  • 1376 FCRA
  • 1525 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2014: 7335 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 323 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 162 Consumers: DAVID MICHAEL LARSON
  • Representing 116 Consumers: JOHN THOMAS STEINKAMP
  • Representing 112 Consumers: TODD M FRIEDMAN
  • Representing 107 Consumers: MICHAEL ANTHONY EADES
  • Representing 104 Consumers: ADAM JON FISHBEIN
  • Representing 103 Consumers: DAVID J PHILIPPS
  • Representing 100 Consumers: ANGIE K ROBERTSON
  • Representing 85 Consumers: CRAIG THOR KIMMEL
  • Representing 80 Consumers: MARY ELIZABETH PHILIPPS

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CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3269 complaints filed against debt collectors in Jul 2014.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 717

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 886 Other (phone, health club, etc.) (27%)
  • 712 Unknown (22%)
  • 679 Credit card (21%)
  • 407 Medical (12%)
  • 263 Payday loan (8%)
  • 105 Mortgage (3%)
  • 87 Auto (3%)
  • 74 Non-federal student loan (2%)
  • 56 Federal student loan (2%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1347 Cont’d attempts collect debt not owed (41%)
  • 653 Communication tactics (20%)
  • 563 Disclosure verification of debt (17%)
  • 268 False statements or representation (8%)
  • 239 Taking/threatening an illegal action (7%)
  • 199 Improper contact or sharing of info (6%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 829 Debt is not mine (25%)
  • 405 Debt was paid (12%)
  • 396 Not given enough info to verify debt (12%)
  • 385 Frequent or repeated calls (12%)
  • 209 Attempted to collect wrong amount (6%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 441 Complaints: CA
  • 288 Complaints: TX
  • 254 Complaints: FL
  • 173 Complaints: NY
  • 164 Complaints: GA
  • 138 Complaints: OH
  • 116 Complaints: NJ
  • 115 Complaints: IL
  • 113 Complaints: PA
  • 106 Complaints: VA

The status of the month’s complaints are as follows:

  • 2225 Closed with explanation (68%)
  • 573 Closed with non-monetary relief (18%)
  • 241 In progress (7%)
  • 114 Closed (3%)
  • 75 Untimely response (2%)
  • 41 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 3132 (96%) timely responses to complaints, and 137 (4%) untimely responses.

Of the company responses, consumers accepted 0 (0%) of them, disputed 414 (13%) of them, and 2855 (87%) were N\A.

The top five days for complaints were:

  • 174 Complaints: Mon, 07/07/2014
  • 158 Complaints: Thu, 07/10/2014
  • 157 Complaints: Thu, 07/24/2014
  • 156 Complaints: Mon, 07/14/2014
  • 155 Complaints: Wed, 07/09/2014